It took some time, but I was able to cultivate my entry for Ka’s 3 day quote challenge. Thanks to the awesomely kind and creative Ka of Fiesta Estrellas for nominating my blog for this project. I am not in the proper head space to nominate other bloggers, but if any of my readers feel inspired, please join in and add your mojo to the party!
This post came together this weekend as I began to review my extremely busy week. The topic of teaching and learning is not a new one for me, but recent face to face discussions, media, and other factors created a ” perfect storm” for me to marinate in.
When contemplating my fervent interest in the work of Matt Kahn, a little birdie landed on my shoulder and squealed ” be careful.” This birdie knows me well and reminded me of an old tendency to put people on pedestals that later became rusty and disintegrated into itty bitty pieces. I have known loved ones who knowingly or unconsciously became involved in cults. In every case, some collateral damage occurred and it was not pretty. The ripples from the fallout continue to reverberate to this day. I feel sad for those who lacked the life experience to be able to properly discern which choices were for their highest good. I witnessed great abuses of power and was unable to do anything to prevent them from happening. I pray that all involved have found forgiveness and peace.
In many traditions, discipleship is part of the initiation process. I cannot speak to this personally as I have never participated in such an arrangement. I have worked with a variety of “teachers” over the years and all of them had some difficulty with ego. This does not seem atypical since most human beings struggle with ego. It can be intoxicating to be worshiped by many on a constant basis. I do take responsibility for my part in these interactions since I was always a willing party. Fortunately my boundaries were well established and no real harm resulted.
Let’s take a look at the first quote:
When the student is ready, the master appears.
Originally I interpreted this to mean that in Divine timing all seekers will find the ideal person to play the role of ” master”. I often looked at particular astrological transits to predict when I may attract a new sage into my orbit. With my Venus in Sagittarius, this was not that difficult to manifest!
Today I see this quote with fresh eyes. What if when the student is ready, she becomes the master?
hmmmm, clever, no?
Why must a student remain a perpetual student? How much learning and practice is necessary? Isn’t mastery part of the game? I have two Master’s Degrees but never felt a master of either discipline. It seemed arrogant to take that title seriously. The truth is that formal education does not a master make. The recipe is not based on a GPA or the pedigree of the University. Mastery is complicated because it does not typically occur in a prescribed manner. It is not static either. It can be lost, regained, or appear to be in flux. It is not subject to the laws of 3D reality.
Now let’s examine the next quote:
He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”
George Bernard Shaw.
Historically I never liked this notion. I found it to be snarky and cynical. My enjoyment of the teacher archetype at work, in part, is why I found this to be distasteful. ” Hey, if I love to teach and am good at it, this does not apply to me! ” I have so much Mercury Jupiter energy in my natal chart, so I am all about the magic of academia and the perpetual process of studying and disseminating knowledge. My Sun/ Moon phase is the disseminating phase, for goodness sake!
Recently I have begun to view this idea from a new angle. I learn best by direct experience. I also am a fan of those who teach by example. In psychological circles, this is called modeling. It is all about the behavior. This reminds me of yet another favorite quote, actions speak louder than words! When I consider all the folks I know who call themselves spiritual or awake or enlightened, I often walk away less than impressed. In my life, those who say less are usually more evolved in their deeds than those who anoint themselves as self-realized. Have you arrived at the same conclusion?
Ready for the final quote? :
If your blessings becomes automatic, and if you stop seeking for knowledge, knowing that everything you need to know will find you, then you have found the dissolving of the Student, and the Emergence of the Master.
It could be considered ironic that I end this discussion with a Matt Kahn quote, but I can live with that. It is some of his material that accelerated my inquiry into the dynamic between student and master. As I find myself connecting with more people from different generations and worldviews, this dynamic appears more frequently. Questions often arise such as ” When am I ready to lead?” or ” What exactly are you able to offer another about your journey thus far? ” With my astrology practice it took decades before I stopped calling myself a student and took on the title of astrologer. It took even longer to shed the label of seeker. I attribute this to my unrealistic( and hopefully former) standards of perfectionism.
The notion that all that one needs to know will find you in an instant is provocative and comforting. Yet it is difficult for me to drop the idea that life is a school and we are here to learn lessons. I have latched onto this philosophy with great passion and enthusiasm. If Matt Kahn’s quote has merit, perhaps I have learned the lesson that I am not here to be an eternal student. I also am grounded enough to embrace the material Matt Kahn provides without turning him into a guru. Lesson learned.
There is so much more I can say on this subject so perhaps I will continue on in a separate post. Thank you Ka for initially introducing me to Matt many moons ago, before I was able to listen intently, and for gently encouraging me to take on this challenge. It has all come full circle.
As always I welcome reactions and questions in the comments section.
This old Police song can be heard on multiple levels; as a twisted love song, a back story on the eventual breakup of the band, or a struggle between master and disciple. Listen and arrive at your own conclusions. It is a stirring piece any way you slice it!
Police – Wrapped around your finger:
This may have been a verbose essay, but I had a lot to express. And there is probably more to say in the near future, as I find this topic fascinating. Thank you for accompanying me on this wild ride. Hope 7-11 has been lucky for you.
image credits: my most recent photos at Longwood Gardens.